My mom has lived alone for the past 20 years and was always very independent, even when my dad was alive. I live three hours away from her, and despite my best efforts to get her to move closer to me for the past ten years, she insisted she wanted to stay in her own home. Around this time last year I started to notice some forgetfulness, but chalked it up to her age. About six months ago she was hospitalized for three weeks because of a blood clot and she was close to a diabetic coma for not taking her insulin. Her neighbors didn't see her and she didn't answer her phone, so they let themselves in and found her semi conscious. She accepted help when she first came home from the hospital, but as soon as she started feeling better, she let the woman go and said she was perfectly capable of taking care of herself. That started the nightmare. I was visiting her every weekend, trying to take care of her every need. I finally told her if she didn't want to have help, I could not take the place of a nurse or aide. She is very pleasant most of the time and but insists she takes her medication consistently although her weekly bloodwork shows otherwise. I called her every day to remind her to take her medication until she told me it was too annoying to have me always checking up on her and wouldn't always answer the phone, so I cut it down to a few times a week. I've written lists for her and taped them around the house. The pharmacy now delivers her medication in a weekly blister pack with all the pills for the day in a clearly labeled container, but she doesn't always take them. I've gotten her an alarm clock that will go off to remind her to take her pills as well. Nothing seems to help. She'll tell me she takes her pills and knows how important they are to stay healthy, but yet most of them are still in the pack when I go visit. She had a home health aid come in the summer, and after 5 days she called the agency and told them not to send the woman anymore. Her neighbor is very helpful and tries to check up on her, but she gets angry and tells her she doesn't need the help. I don't know what to do. Outside of her doctor and medical team saying she needs someone with her for a few hours on a daily basis, they offer no suggestions. My sister wants no part of caring for my mom, so it's just me. I'm at my wits end, constantly worried about her and terrified something is going to happen to her. She wears a medical alert pendant in case she has a fall but that's the only thing she'll agree to. I know she needs help, there is no doubt about that.
She has always been terrible about her diet, ever since I was a kid, and she still gets take out meals and eats all the wrong things, even though she has a freezer full of healthy, easy to prepare meals I fixed for her. Every time I go visit, the food is still there. She'd rather get Chinese and pizza. I am so tired of everyone telling me she needs help - and I feel very judged, like I'm not doing enough for her, and very guilty. The last time I spoke to her doctor and she told me mom needed an aide a few hours a day, I asked her what she advised me to do to make her open the door and let the help in. Of course she had no answer to that. I am also always reminding extended family who are "concerned" about my mom that I have a six hour round trip to visit my mom and can't be there all the time.
I've talked to her until I'm blue in the face and she refuses to accept her limitations. She doesn't want anyone in her house. My grandmother was like that too, and it drove my mom crazy. I just don't know what to do. Has anyone else been in this situation or can anyone offer any suggestions? I appreciate and welcome any thoughts or comments.